The Power of Mystery

Mystery: A Life or Death Matter?


As long as you have mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity.

G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

…morbidity? This Chesterton guy shakes me up every time I read him. He is really hard on people like me who believe in nothing – for whom the only fate worse than death is damnation. So, Paula and I wonder more than we did before: Which story are we in?

Mystery is a powerful story tool for writers.

And, the more we went forward on this crazy assignment, the more we sensed that, if Christianity is the story we are in, God the Great Storyteller is a master of mystery.

For you Christians, then, mystery must be so cool. No matter how intense the mystery, you believe you can trust him, right?

Well, mystery is a lot harder for those of us who embrace the secular version of the story we are in, for there is nothing for us to turn to when it comes to unknowns. If a thing is beyond my understanding, that mysterious thing becomes like a two headed snake, and neither head is charmed. We  understand neither what that mysterious thing is about, nor when it will strike.

And, if your God really is in charge of it all, the suspense is unnerving.

But our troubles don’t end at snakes, for we are seriously troubled by the mystery of Black Swans and Gray Rhinos too…


During the Lunar New Year holidays, political circles in Beijing were abuzz with this question: “Who, or what, are ‘black swans’ and ‘gray rhinos’?” This followed a major speech given by President and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping at the Central Party School (CPS) last month, in which the the 65-year-old leader raised the highest alert for Party officials to “be on guard against black swans and keep watchful for gray rhinos” (jingti hei tian’e, fangfan hui xiniu / 警惕黑天鹅, 防范灰犀牛) (People’s Daily, January 22).

….

As the world watches with anxiety the unfolding series of crises shaking up China, more questions are being asked as to whether simply enhancing loyalty to the top leadership will effectively solve the country’s problems. As long as these problems persist, Xi and other leaders in the CCP’s top echelons will continue to watch nervously for the potential emergence of those mysterious and frightening beasts known as “black swans” and “gray rhinos.”

China Brief Early Warning: Xi Jinping Warns Against the “Black Swans” and “Gray Rhinos” of a Possible Color Revolution, By: Willy Wo-Lap Lam, Jamestown Institute, February 20, 2019

They are mysterious and frightening for us. And that’s why…


The Black Swan Bible 


… so has our attention. 

And your insightful philosopher, Paul Moser, asked the very kind of ‘what if’ question which Party members would rather avoid even thinking about…


A better formulation is this: what, if anything, is behind all of the world’s changes, including the movements in my experiences, such as the experienced ups and downs, comings and goings, and dyings and risings?

The fact of the world’s changes seems undeniable, at least from where I sit (for a time). Is there, however, something behind it all, not just as a cause, but as a meaning-conferring explanation? In par­ticular, is there a unifying power with constant intentions or purposes behind all of the movement or at least much of it? In other words, is there an intentional agent thus involved in the mix as a superhuman guide?

Paul Moser, The Severity of God

See that? Crazy. But that’s the very kind of crazy question our crazy assignment is forcing us to consider. Try on this mystery for instance…


How can such great nations die? How can such vast wealth simply disappear? And what does all this say about the chances for our own civilization? The collapse of the Soviet Union, which has been constantly in the headlines since the fall of 1989, is clearly the most recent example of the fate of nations. But it is not the only one. In this century alone we have seen the fall of the German Reich, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Italian Empire of Benito Mussolini, the Japanese Empire of Hirohito, and not least, the British Empire. So what is the force that brings great nations to their knees? Obviously, war is often a factor in the final dissolution of empires, but what causes certain societies to rise so high and then collapse so suddenly?

Jim Nelson Black, When Nations Die

So unsettling, right? Especially for you Americans, I would think, for your country is so very young. You rose so high, so quickly. Here’s a mysterious question for you– Will your collapse come suddenly?

If your God is in charge of such mysteries, how might Pope John Paul II’s insight relate to America’s unfolding drama?


At the heart of every culture lies the attitude man takes to the greatest mystery: the mystery of God. Different cultures are basically different ways of facing the question of the meaning of personal existence. When this question is eliminated, the culture and moral life of nations are corrupted.

Pope John Paul II, CENTESIMUS ANNUS

You Americans are in the process of eliminating this question from your culture, don’t you think? What sense is there left in your culture of embracing the questions of the meaning of your existence?

These mysterious questions are troubling for our secularist allies in America, who have taken your culture’s commanding heights.

And yet, everyone is fascinated by mystery. We all love it and hate it at the same time.


There is a need for wonder, enchantment, and mystery — not merely as instruments to produce the flickering romantic allure of a candlelit room, but as something essential to our human flourishing.

The evidence suggests that we humans are made for mystery, to live and move and have our being in it, every bit as much as we are made for knowledge and work and love. We need the presence of mystery as a constituent element in our lives if we are to flourish, in the same way that the coherence and beauty of a landscape requires the presence of a horizon — whether as a defining line across the field of vision or as a dark and even forbidding boundary that gives sharper definition to the illuminated world. Or, perhaps, we need the presence of mystery in the same way that our use of language needs the refreshment and release that comes with the practice of silence.

Can We Live Without Enchantment?, By Wilfred M. McClay & Donald A. Yerxa, Big Questions Online, June 5, 2017

I don’t know who those fellows are, but they wrote a beautiful thought there. I’ll never again see a horizon the same.

It kind of chokes me up.


Mystery opens up emotion. Mystery adds to the complexity of relationships and experiences. It lies in the stories, metaphors, and iconic characters that give a relationship its texture.

Kevin Roberts, Lovemarks

This is deep stuff. Somehow when I read these thoughts, I don’t feel much like an animal fighting to survive, or like a collection of star dust.

So… if Christianity is the story we are in, is this another way of seeing how God has designed story to be powerful with human beings?

Paula thinks so. Look what she showed up from the Pixar guy…


What is the relationship between faith and stories?
Stories get to that connection that we all share between each other, between ourselves and our family, and between us and the Creator. I think Christianity as a religion recognizes the importance of that connection between people. At the heart of it, there’s still some mystery that only God knows. That is what stories can touch; when you have a really good story, it’s reaching for that unknown. This is what art does: it takes something beyond words—something that you can talk around but can’t quite grab onto with words—and speaks about that elusive nature of what it is to be human.

Pete Docter, Voices on Faith & Film: Exploring A Reel Spirituality, Fuller Studio

What it is to be human, huh?

It’s times like this that I most experience the emptiness of our secular story.

And look what else we found from some of your Christian thinkers…


If we submit everything to reason, our religion will have no mysterious and supernatural element.If we offend the principles of reason, our religion will be absurd and ridiculous.

Blaise Pascal, Pensees

So, are you sure you want to just keeping sticking with your rational/logical/reason approach? Story brings mystery into play…


Christian vision springs from mystery. Every major tenet of our creed is a mystery—revealed, not explained—affirmed and apprehended only by the faculty we call faith.

Elisabeth Elliot, The Essence of Femininity: A Personal Perspective

…revealed, not explained? Oh boy. What did my Uncle get me into? This assignment is driving me crazy.

For I’d like to believe that I can understand, that I can figure it out with my own brainpower. But that Elisabeth Elliot lady is talking about something else entirely.


The cumulative case for theism focuses on four fundamental mysteries. We bump up against these mysteries time and time again: the mystery of cosmic order, the mystery of purposive order, the mystery of a moral order, and the mystery of human personhood. These profound mysteries are pervasive in human experience. The mystery of cosmic wonder is felt in the strange way humans experience the universe as a “might-never- have-been.” The mystery of purposive order is felt as we perceive the value produced by the order of nature, and it strongly suggests that there is mind at the root of the universe. The mystery of a moral order, felt in the experience of “oughtness,” conveys to us an objectively real order of rightness and wrongness. The mystery of persons points us to the supreme person.

All of these mysteries are what Peter Berger calls “signals of transcendence within the . . . human condition.” They can plausibly be seen as clues pointing to the reality of a being with many of the characteristics of the Christian God.

The Mystery of Persons and Belief in God, By C. Stephen Evans

You can see, that as Paula and I take a serious look at mystery, it’s hard to get away from your Christian story. And all this would seem to fit with…


MYSTERY The ways of God, especially God’s plan for SALVATION, cannot be known with the rational, finite mind. It can only be experienced by the revelation of God.

The Orthodox Study Bible, by St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology

There’s the problem of the rational, finite mind again. A close relative of analytical powers, I think…


The Anglican Book of Common Prayer speaks, in the post-Eucharistic prayer, of mystery in that sense: of being fed with “holy mysteries” that make the communicants “very members incorporate in the mystical body” of believers in Christ. The “mystical” elements of the Christian faith are precisely those which defy the analytical powers of ordinary reason: the Incarnation, the Resurrection, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharistic elements, and His being-present in the corporation of the gathered faithful. We can never fully understand these things or relate them to any set of anterior natural causes, because they represent the symbolic expression of realities that transcend the scope of any categories we could use to analyze them.

Can We Live Without Enchantment?, By Wilfred M. McClay & Donald A. Yerxa, Big Questions Online, June 5, 2017


So, as our team continued to investigate the possibility that, if Christianity is the story we are inthen your God is the Great Storyteller, we discovered something unexpected which connects to Moser’s crazy question.

Just to remind, Moser asks:Is there an intentional agent thus involved in the mix as a superhuman guide?

Is there?

In the face of all the mystery in life, we really are beginning to wonder.

For, it looks like, if Christianity is the story we are in, your God is really into this mystery thing. Let’s turn to your scriptures to clarify…  


Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

Romans 16:25-27

It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.

Proverbs 25:2

Truly, you are a God who hides himself, O God of Israel, the Savior.

Isaiah 45:15

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Deuteronomy 29:29

The king answered and said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.”

Daniel 2:47

And look what else Moser wrote…


God’s main mystery, according to Paul, “is Christ himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom” (Col. 2:2—3). This inward Christ is alive and interactive with God’s wisdom and power.

Paul Moser, The Severity of God

Even though God’s existence may remove the mystery of the world’s existence, it will not remove all mystery about existence. Doggedly, mystery chases theism all the way up the tree of explanation.

Paul K. Moser, “Cognitive Idolatry and Divine Hiding,” in Divine Hiddenness, eds. D. Howard-Snyder & P.K. Moser

And all that helped us to see something else from Robert McKee. It looks like God the Great storyteller may have given humanity a story which fits the form, but isn’t reduced to a formula…


Each of the arts is defined by its essential form. From symphony to hip-hop, the underlying form of music makes a piece music and not noise. Whether representational or abstract, the cardinal principles of visual art make a canvas a painting, not a doodle. Equally, from Homer to Ingmar Bergman, the universal form of story shapes a work into story, not portraiture or collage. Across all cultures and through all ages, this innate form has been endlessly variable but changeless.

Story is far too rich in mystery, complexity, and flexibility to be reduced to a formula. Only a fool would try. Rather, a writer must grasp story form. This is inescapable.

Robert McKee, Story

And as Shawn Coyne pointed out, the place of mystery in story is very important…


You want to create mystery at the very beginning of your story no matter what, in my opinion. Because if there are things that are all answered for the reader, it’s not interesting, it’s boring. We want to be propelled forward, we want questions to be raised in our mind, subconsciously as we read, that we know the writer will eventually answer. But if everything’s answered from the get go, it’s boring, you don’t care.

Story Grid Spreadsheeting Your Scenes, by Shawn Coyne

See that? In your Bible, it’s right there from the very beginning of the story… 


The term בָּרָא is virtually the only Hebrew word translated “create,” and it evokes immediately a sense of mystery and awe that surrounds the Lord God. Hearing it, one enters, as it were, into the heavenly temple and catches a glimpse of one’s utter creatureliness in the presence of the incomparable Creator. It is every bit as explosive a term as “omnipresent,” “omniscient,” or “omnipotent.”

Dimensions of the Hebrew Word for “Create” ( בָּרָא ), By Thomas J. Finley, Bibliothecasacra, October 1991

Mystery and awe…  


Sooner or later one retreats into the recognition that there are some mysteries in the very being of God. The deepest of these are related to the fact that God as He has disclosed Himself in Scripture is simultaneously sovereign/transcendent, and personal. We cannot experience what it means to be sovereign or transcendent. We are finite creatures limited by time and space, with impregnable limitations on our authority and power.

God’s Love and God’s Sovereignty, By D. A. Carson, BibliothecaSacra, July 1999

Again…I feel so small.

And look at this — mystery is connected to Jesus, the hero in the Christian story…


My goal is that their hearts, having been knit together in love, may be encouraged, and that they may have all the riches that assurance brings in their understanding of the knowledge of the mystery of God, namely, Christin whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Colossians 2:2-3

…hidden…and yet making known…


Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

Ephesians 1:3-10

And here’s another passage from that same letter… 


For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.

Ephesians 3:1-13

So, you see? Your God is one who plans it out, but hides it in mystery.

I bet the Christians in China love this passage since we are cracking down on them. Because unlike the secular story I believe we are in, there seems to be great purpose in suffering in the Christian story. And that, if you ask me, is a whole new level of mystery…eternal purpose in suffering? Suffering for a Christian brother or sister somehow brings glory? This is all beyond my understanding.

But nothing is as mysterious to me as the way your scriptures talk about what happens after death. In my secular story I return back to the nothingness I came from. But, what the heck? In your story, the ending is only the beginning of irreversible change…


Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:51-57

And you know the climax in the story…


The NT represents the climax of the story begun in the OT, but it is a bit like a mystery novel because the story is fulfilled in an astonishing way.

Thomas R. Schreiner, New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ

And here we go again with your Moser guy, who shakes me up almost as much as Chesterton…


From Paul’s Christian perspective, the cross of Jesus identifies a discomforting limit in human understanding and a severe redemptive act by God. It appears initially to be foolish or at least highly mysterious. Paul remarks: “we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles” (1 Cor. 1:23). In this connection, Paul asks: “Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Cor. 1:20). In doing so, he echoes Isaiah 29:14: “The wisdom of their wise shall perish, and the discernment of the discerning shall be hidden” (cf. Ps. 33:10). Paul suggests, then, that God aims in the cross of Jesus to deflate any human wisdom that seeks to do without God or God’s ways. The target is wisdom that supposedly is humanly sufficient and leaves no room for divine wisdom. God’s response is deflationary for redemptive purposes, to save humans from self-destruction in alienation from God.

Paul Moser, The Severity of God

Is he talking to me, or what?

And then we saw the following connection with the hero — which really grabbed our attention – and especially mine, as I think about Paula Wong so much…


God, not man, established the law of marriage; therefore, marriage is holy. In the marriage union, the husband and wife become one flesh (v.24), which St. Paul calls “a great mystery” (Eph. 5:32). This mystery is so great and wonderful that a man will leave his father and mother with their blessing, and be joined to a woman in marriage. In this joining, he will be devoted to her with sacrificial love and devotion, and she to him.

This great mystery points to the greater mystery: the marriage of Christ and His Bride, the Church (Eph. 5:22-33). For He left his Father and became Man to seek a Bride. He loved His Bride and gave Himself for her.

The Orthodox Study Bible, by St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology

Love is a great mystery. It really gets my devotion juices flowing, at least until I get to the greater mystery of your God and the Church…  


Sexuality is a mystery representing the deepest mystery we know anything about: the relationship of Christ and His church.

….

But God did not abandon His self-willed creatures. In His inexorable love He demonstrated exactly what He had had in mind by calling Himself a Bridegroom-the Initiator, Protector, Provider, Lover-and Israel His bride, His beloved. He rescued her, called her by name, wooed and won her, grieved when she went whoring after other gods. In the New Testament we find the mystery of marriage again expressing the inexpressible relationship between the Lord and His people, the husband standing for Christ in his headship, the wife standing for the church in her submission. This Spirit-inspired imagery is not to be shuffled about and rearranged according to our whims and preferences. Mystery must be handled not only with care but also with reverence and awe.

Elisabeth Elliot, The Essence of Femininity: A Personal Perspective

But, I’ll admit, when this Elliot lady talks, I’m listening.

And we also noticed how your God supplies mysterious information to certain other characters in the story…


For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.

Amos 3:7

But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.

1 Corinthians 2:7

It was planned out before the ages, your God says, decreed by him. Well, then Jesus shows up and says he is the giver of secrets, to some anyway…  


And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.”

Matthew 13:11

And, by golly, he promises that one day, there will no longer be any more secrets…


 So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.

Matthew 10:26 

When we get more into the study of McKee and the story in your Bible, you will deeply appreciate how this fits with the archplot story’s ending of irreversible change.

And there is something else going on which caught our attention.

Since your God is both the central character and the Great Storyteller, it did not surprise us how there would be a connection in the story in the Bible between the two senses of mystery…


So we can distinguish at least two kinds of mystery: the ones you can solve and the ones you can’t.

….

And yet there remains a residual connection between the two senses of mystery, which we can call the numinous sense and the detective sense. They are distinct, but they can be hard to separate.

Can We Live Without Enchantment?, By Wilfred M. McClay & Donald A. Yerxa, Big Questions Online, June 5, 2017

Stories have mysteries we can solve and ones we can’t. 

And that duality seems to fit with this rather long observation of how mystery shows up in the New Testament…


Collecting together the various suggestions which have been given, several facts may with reasonable assurance be stated concerning the New Testament mysteries:

(1) They present a phase or phases of, or something connected with, the salvation wrought by Christ, attested in the New Testament, and set forth in the Gospel.

(2) They are truths which are utterly beyond the imagination or thought of men, and which would never have been known had God not chosen to reveal them.

(3) They are truths which had been hidden in the counsels of God, but have now been revealed through His Spirit to believers in Christ.

(4) Since now revealed, these truths are meant for believers to understand and appropriate.

(5) As products of the Divine wisdom, in their completeness they are not entirely within the compass of finite comprehension; there are still some things about them which are not completely understood.

The last two facts may appear to some to contradict each other. But that is not necessarily so. It is true of much of God’s revelation and the great doctrines of Scripture that while they are to be known and understood in a sense, yet there is much that cannot be completely understood, at least in the present life. Is it not to be expected that when God revealed Himself to men there should be some things within and other things beyond comprehension?

The Mystery of God, Even Christ, T. Norton Sterrett, BibliothecaSacra, April 1938

If it’s the Christian story we’re in, your God is the master storyteller, no doubt… 


The word mystery therefore means a secret containing high or deep truth. In the New Testament the word musterion occurs twenty-seven times with both ideas of something secret and something deep. The idea of supernatural wisdom in a mystery is found in the only uses of the word in the Gospels in relation to the mysteries of the kingdom ( Matt 13:11 ; Mark 4:11 ; Luke 8:10 ). The idea of a mystery being something secret in Old Testament times but revealed in the New Testament is clearly seen in a passage like Colossians 1:26 . Four occurrences are found in the Revelation ( 1:20 ; 10:7 ; 17:5 , 7 ) and the other twenty are in the writings of Paul. All seem to involve some higher wisdom which God reveals.

Thus the concept of a mystery is basically a secret which only the initiated share. This includes two ideas: (1) a time when the secret was not known followed by a time when it became known; and (2) deeper or higher wisdom which is revealed to the one initiated into an understanding of the mystery.

The Mystery in Ephesians 3, By Charles C. Ryrie, BibliothecaSacra, January, 1966

So, we’re curious. Do you approach your Bible this way? Do you believe your God wove together a masterful tale, intriguing, full of mystery? Do you let yourself get caught up in that kind of story?


What terrifies me about my generation is that we have lost the importance of seeing the Bible as it was written – a story. We have reduced the Bible to a few significant prooftexts, a few commandments, a few steps to secure the good life. We see the Bible just as we see the average self-help book in the bookstore – not a mysterious, intriguing, beguiling story to be caught up in, but a list of principles that will remove the mystery and suffering of our lives.

Come, Bring Your Story, by Don Hudson (1994 Mars Hill Review)

And now, look what Shawn Coyne wrote…


Now, the way you create mystery, and we’re going to talk about this when I get to scene three, but there are three ways to keep people interested in your story as a writer. Three ways, three techniques. There’s the technique of creating mystery, there’s the technique of creating suspense and the technique of creating dramatic irony. Now, that all sounds very like I’m some professor on a platform saying that. But simply, what creating mystery means is that the reader does not have as much information as the characters in the story.

So the characters in the story have a lot more information than we have. They understand the universe they’re living in, they understand the rules, they understand so much stuff that we don’t understand as a reader. That creates mystery when the reader is engaging in the work.

….

Okay, so you’re working with first device of narrative drive, which is creating mystery and again, mystery only means this: the characters have more information than the reader does. So narrative drive is all about how much information you share with your reader and how much information you share with your characters. So the first scene creates mystery.

Story Grid Spreadsheeting Your Scenes, by Shawn Coyne

Well, if your God is the Great storyteller, he chooses how much information to share with us. There are things he chooses to show us and things he chooses to withhold from our understanding. There you will find mystery.

Now, as I understand it, even Christians struggle like I do with having information withheld from us. I asked Paula about it, and she reminded me about the story of that blameless man Job in your scriptures. Remember how he, at an early point in the story, wanted to put your God in the dock and question him about the mysterious events of his life?

And you do too, sometimes, right?

But, Paula showed me how at the end of Job’s story, he clapped his hand over his mouth. Could it be possible that what he learned, what he came to see with his eyes, was a wholly different perspective?

Because Paula also showed me this…


God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform;

He plants His footsteps in the sea

And rides upon the storm.

William Cowper, God Moves in a Mysterious Way

Is there something to be learned about the power of mystery in understanding the events of your life? Could it be that your God withholds some information from you just to increase your pleasure later in the story when he reveals to you, surprises you, with what it was he was doing, thinking, what he had in mind all along? 

So, think about this: Who among you, in the middle of a fabulous film stops and turns to their friend beside them (who has seen the film before) and demands to know how it ends? No one does that. Everyone wants the pleasure of having the mysteries of the story they are experiencing revealed to them at just the right time from the master storyteller. This is why ‘spoiler alerts’ became a popular part of your story culture.

We’re curious, then. Do Christians sometimes struggle, demanding to know the “why?” of everything that happens in the middle of the story? If they do, could it be they don’t really believe your God is the great storyteller, who designed every moment of your life’s story?

Or are they saying in their hearts quietly to themselves, “I sure hope he knows what he’s doing, both in my life and in our country.”